Date of Award

January 2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Shaun Hughes

Committee Member 1

Marlo David

Committee Member 2

Alfred Lopez

Committee Member 3

William J Palmer

Committee Member 4

Aparajita Sagar


This dissertation argues that zombie narratives have always been about white masculinity and that colonialism is the true living dead monster. The zombie is not the load-bearing signifier in these stories. It is the white men who act as representatives of empire that embody tropes and evolve. This dissertation examines the survivor masculinity in zombie films over time to see how hegemonic masculinity has adapted to a range of national crises. I argue that the failure of white masculinities in these films and novel is rooted in the limited ways of knowing inherent in the Imperial Gaze. Starting in the 1930s, zombie films have attempted to recruit the double consciousness of black men to assist white men in their domination of colonial subjects. Each chapter thus juxtaposes race conflicts within the nation with our imperial actions on the global scale.